Authorities launched a probe after the news that 11 people who are part of a Turkish folk dance troupe sought asylum in Hungary where they visited for a festival last month. The Sports Ministry had already launched an inquiry while the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office announced the launch of a criminal probe into the incident.
Eleven people, who are yet to be identified, were part of a 16-member company of folk dancers from Ankara. They traveled to Hungary to attend a folk dance festival in early November, officials said.
Hayri Gürhan Ozanoğlu, head of Turkish Federation of Folk Dances, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they had arranged trips abroad for 86 folk dance troupes last year, but found members of this latest group failed to return and they filed a criminal complaint.
An official from the Children and Youth Folk Dances Association in Ankara, with which the troupe was affiliated, told AA that 16 people in the group applied to the association only to sign up for the Hungary event and they accepted the application. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the troupe had security clearance to travel freely abroad and the police had approved their passports.
Doğan News Agency reported that the asylum seekers were originally scheduled to arrive on Nov. 5, but traveled four days earlier after they had special passports given to Turkish citizens attending such events to represent Turkey.
Hundreds of suspects linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) have sought asylum in Europe since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt blamed on the group. It is not known if the folk dancers were linked to the group whose leaders live abroad.
Hungary is known for its government's strong opposition to illegal migration as Europe faces a refugee flow largely stemming from the civil war in Syria.
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